I have always had a weird relationship with food and feeding myself in general. I find hunger soothing, sometimes. Okay, maybe this isn’t as weird as my brain convinced me it is, after all. Perhaps I find hunger soothing because I am a lazy person who wouldn’t be bothered to make proper meals most of the time. Well, whichever it is, my point is, I don’t always look at food or take the task of feeding myself seriously the way the average human being does.
I have lived a big part of my adult life in Lagos Island – the Lekki, Ikoyi, Victoria Island axis – and here, fast food and flawless home deliveries came with the package. Living in Lagos was a bit tolerable because of these small blessings. I could lazy around on my computer or sleep all day and have a good meal I didn’t have to cook in 15minutes.
At work, some vendors sold food in the office kitchen. I sometimes bought food from them or went to a proper restaurant to have lunch. This routine was interrupted when one of my closest friends at the office suggested I come with her to a new fast food joint she had discovered. Here, they sold ‘proper’ Igbo soups. I was not longing for Igbo soups, don’t get me wrong, of course, I missed eating my Mother’s meals. But I had never gone to a new place and desired a particular meal so much that I scout for where I could buy them.
This colleague who cared about my stomach more than I did (bless her) also tried to get me to make these meals, but I just wasn’t interested. Thinking about my interactions/friendship with her, I am starting to understand how much of a bore she could have found me. She obviously couldn’t have wholesome conversations about ‘family’ with me because I was yet to start one. And then I couldn’t even be bothered to feed myself ‘properly’ – so the subject of food was out the window as well. In the absence of husbands and children, how else could women our age begin a conversation?
I followed her to this restaurant and went a few more times by myself. As we sat down and waited for our food, the first comment I made about the place was how close together the tables and chairs were. ‘I can pick this meat off this man’s right hand,’ I told her – Referring to the man right in front of the table next to us as he held a big chunk of meat with one hand and tried wiping off the sweat from his forehead with the other. ‘I have never properly looked at this place before today,’ My colleague pointed out.
We both laughed out loud at how primal the scene looked. No one seemed to notice that we were speaking about them or laughing more than we should. You only need two senses to eat, after all – smell and taste. Here sat human beings at their core, hot to trot, mind fixed on one thing and one thing only. Meet the demands of the ever ‘forgetful’ stomach.
Here, privacy isn’t as important as hunger.